As you prepare for planting season, keep farm safety in mind

Warm weather is pushing the start of spring planting closer in Minnesota. As farmers prepare their equipment, health and safety experts say that machinery is not the only thing that needs care.

With his young son Waylon offering a helping hand, southeast Minnesota farmer Ben Storm is like thousands of other growers prepping equipment and growing anxious for the 2021 growing season to begin.

“We always get excited this time of year-- been working in the shop getting equipment ready,” Storm states. “We got most of the tractors ready and changing the oil in the semi today. Going to get the planters in the shop, hopefully, this week or next week and get stuff started on that.”

Spring can be an exciting, yet hectic time on the farm, so experts remind farmers and others that safety should never take a break.

According to University of Minnesota Extension’s Emily Krekelberg, “Farm safety is imperative year-round. I think the fall, rightfully, gets a lot of attention for being a big-time that farm safety really becomes a popular topic. But, to me, spring is just as important if not more important, because you’re seeing a lot of the same dangers that you see with fall harvest, which would be increased roadway traffic, as well as really long work hours and just general, stressful conditions.”

Farm groups are putting their support behind farm safety. The Olmsted-Wabasha Corn and Soybean Growers Association has sponsored safety training and recently funded the purchase of equipment for two local fire departments.

According to Storm, “There was a recent grain bin accident in the Kellogg area, as a county organization, we donated money to both the Plainview and the Kellogg fire departments for a grain bin safety tube, so they have that equipment if they ever need it. Hopefully, they never have to use it.”

Safety around farm equipment is vital, but Krekelberg says that self-care is also important.

“Their mental health, their physical health, and their emotional health, and practicing a lot of self-care, which is very simply anything you do to take care of yourself,” she states. “So, sleeping, eating, making sure you’re connecting with people in your social circle, whether that’s a spouse or partners, children, parents, etc.”

Regardless of the season, farmers are encouraged to take care of both their physical and mental health.


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